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Monday, March 17 & Tuesday, March 18

The Game Narrative Summit covers interactive narrative in all its forms, from AAA blockbusters to indie games to transmedia projects. The event features an all-star lineup of speakers from every corner of the discipline, with session content ranging from the advanced and theoretical to hands-on workshops for writers, designers and others seeking to hone their skills. The Game Narrative Summit attracts attendees from all over the world with a passionate interest in the ongoing evolution of interactive storytelling as a driving force in the future of entertainment

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1979 Revolution: A Case Study in Bringing Real Stories to Gaming
Navid Khonsari (iNK Stories)
It's time for gamers to take on the real world! This talk will address the challenges of telling real stories via the most popular medium of our time. Video games have traditionally avoided real-life narratives, but the influence of engaging with real-life events and the unparalleled impact it can have as a new form of entertainment is not only groundbreaking, but the inevitable next step for our industry. Using the 1979 Iranian Revolution game as a case study, the audience will learn about how to establish and be effective in this new genre.
Breaking the Mold: Experiments in Evolving Game Narrative from the USC Game Innovation Lab
Tracy Fullerton (USC Game Innovation Lab)
There are many ways for game writers and designers to stretch story premises beyond the cliche formats that have been troubling our industry as of late. In this talk, Tracy Fullerton, chair of USC Interactive Media & Games, will focus on experiments in emergent narrative that immerse players into the lives, writings and particularly the personal experiences of great historical figures and human traditions. A look inside USC's Game Innovation Lab will trace how early projects such as Cloud led to two current projects intended to push the boundaries even further: one is a game intended to make you feel what Henry David Thoreau experienced at Walden Pond, and the other a game attempting to evoke the transcendental experience of the mystics journey toward enlightenment.
Death to the Three Act Structure! Toward a Unique Structure for Game Narratives
Tom Abernathy (Riot Games)
Richard Rouse III (Microsoft Game Studios)
Over the last few decades, almost everyone interested in storytelling has become familiar with the classic three act structure employed by most Hollywood films. Indeed, many would argue that this same three act structure is used in stories of all kinds. Structure is vital in narrative - it's the tool writers use to guide the audience's experience of dramatic events. But not all storytelling mediums use the three act structure. Just as TV developed a structure all its own, story designers for games must develop structures tailored to the unique needs of their story and gameplay. This talk details some of the different structures employed in a variety of storytelling mediums, and explores the unique structural needs of games, providing designers and writers with the tools they need to tell stories as only games can.


Tom Abernathy
Riot Games
Tom Abernathy is a senior narrative designer at Riot Games. His major game credits include Halo: Reach, Destroy All Humans! and Destroy All Humans! 2, The Saboteur, Crimson Alliance and Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure. In 2009, he was named to "The Gamasutra 20: Top Game Writers." An award-winning screenwriter, Tom has written numerous optioned feature film scripts and teleplays; Bad Country, starring Willem Dafoe and Matt Dillon and based in part on Tom's screenplay The Real Deal, will be released later this year by Sony Pictures. A veteran of Microsoft Studios and the late, great Pandemic Studios, Tom holds an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and a BA with Highest Honors from Oberlin College. Originally from Atlanta, he now splits his time between Seattle and Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @tomabernathy.
Lev Chapelsky
Lev Chapelsky is a founding partner and GM for Blindlight, a Hollywood-based company that works exclusively for the video game industry, providing game producers with consultative advice on working with outsource talent, as well as soup to nuts production of outsourced projects. Blindlight's core disciplines include story development, script writing, celebrity acquisition and voiceover production.

Since its founding in 2000, Blindlight has earned over 300 game credits and a client list that includes 19 of the top 20 game publishers. Blindlight continues to work as part of extended development teams on original game properties, including the Halo, Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Fallout, Tomb Raider, Guild Wars and Destiny franchises, and on dozens of film and TV licensed properties. Lev holds a B.F.A. degree from Notre Dame, an M.B.A. from UCLA and a degree in International Business Management from The Stockholm School of Economics.
Richard Dansky
Ubisoft/Red Storm
As Central Clancy writer, Richard has been with Red Storm/Ubisoft for over a decade. He has worked on games in series such as Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Far Cry and Might and Magic, with his most recent title being Splinter Cell: Blacklist. A former executive of the IGDA Writers' Special Interest Group, Richard is the author of six novels and one short fiction collection. He has also contributed to numerous books on games and game design, including the award-winning, "Hobby Games: The 100 Best." Previously, Richard worked on more than a hundred role-playing game books for White Wolf Game Studios. His published work includes short fiction as well as literary criticism, book and music reviews, humor and a brief stint as the world's greatest authority on Denebian Slime Devils. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Dr. Melinda Thielbar. You can find him online at
Mary DeMarle
Eidos Montreal
Mary DeMarle has worked in the game industry as both a freelance contract writer and a full-time narrative game designer/writer for over 15 years. Her work crosses genres and playstyles, and includes such award-winning titles as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Homeworld II, Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Dungeon Siege: Broken Sword and the Splinter Cell license. She is currently working as the executive narrative director at Eidos Montreal.
Susan O'Connor
Susan O'Connor Writing Studio
Susan O'Connor is a writer. She works with studios to create worlds and adventures for video games. Titles in her portfolio have sold over ten million copies and generated more than half a billion dollars in sales. Gamasutra has named her as one of the top writers working in the video game industry today. She has been a featured speaker at SXSW, TEDx and the Austin Film Festival. A native of Austin, O'Connor now lives in San Francisco and splits her time between game projects, TV assignments, and surfing. She is represented by United Talent Agency.


The Videogame Writers Caucus (VWC) promotes the professional and artistic interests of interactive writers in the videogame industry. The VWC seeks to raise the writers' status and influence within this industry, build a community of professional videogame writers within the WGAW, and expand coverage of videogame writing under WGA contracts.

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